A court has ruled that the government decision to give the go-ahead to Heathrow Airport’s plans to build a third runway was unlawful in a court case that was brought by councils, the Mayor of London and environmental groups.
The reason the government’s Heathrow’s expansion decision was unlawful the Court of Appeal said, was because it did not take climate commitments into account.
The judgement will not be appealed against by the government, the court said. However a third runway could still go ahead in the future, the judges said, as long as it fits with the UK’s climate commitments.
The government had not followed UK policy when backing the controversial expansion plans according to the Court of Appeal who went on to say that the government had a duty to take into account the Paris climate agreement, which seeks to limit global warming.
Heathrow Airport however have issued a statement saying they intend to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, issuing a statement that read:
“The Court of Appeal dismissed all appeals against the government – including on “noise” and “air quality” – apart from one which is eminently fixable.
We will appeal to the Supreme Court on this one issue and are confident that we will be successful. In the meantime, we are ready to work with the Government to fix the issue that the court raised.
Heathrow has taken a lead in getting the UK aviation sector to commit to a plan to get to Net Zero emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Accord. Expanding Heathrow, Britain’s biggest port and only hub, is essential to achieving the Prime Minister’s vision of Global Britain. We will get it done the right way, without jeopardising the planet’s future. Let’s get Heathrow done.”
Judicial reviews such as this are a common feature of major infrastructure projects, and today’s announcement does not prevent the Heathrow expansion from moving ahead sometime in the future.